Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Did I Say Simple Plans? Hah

So those simple plans I mentioned last post? Yeah. Well. I sewed about 2 seams.

Life happened. Namely, the time I volunteered to help Alex work on his investment house this past weekend multiplied and wore me out.

Alex was out of town this past weekend visiting his brother and nephew and I was to supervise the installation of new carpet on Saturday morning while also installing tile around the new bathroom vanity. One thing led to another ... namely, the carpet installation was pushed back a few hours, the tile saw I needed to rent from Home Depot hadn't been returned by the previous renters, etc., etc. So, I ended up just standing around the house a lot either waiting for or watching/talking with the carpet installer. Time not exactly wasted but not very productive either. And standing around on tile floors all day is tiring even if you do nothing.

Sunday was supposed to be miserable weather-wise (turned out the storm blew past quickly) so I planned to "take off" from Alex's house and hunker down in mine to work on the blouse. Before the weekend started I had really planned to spend both Sunday and Monday as sewing days but since Saturday was a bust, I had to regroup. I did get the Mimosa top cut out and interfaced but not much further. The ties are sewn (but not turned and/or pressed) if that counts. Baby steps. And it's also football playoffs time and some really good games further distracted me. Ah well.

So, while I have no sewing photos to share, I do have some from Alex's house.

First, the new carpet. Only the two bedrooms have carpeting and they are small, but it still took 3+ hours for installation.

The bathroom, after we tore out the yucky old vanity (a few weeks ago).

Alex working on the new vanity, cutting holes in the back to fit around the existing plumbing. This is in the living room — isn't that a cute little built-in in the wall? The house was built in 1952.

Finally, what I did Monday. I still need to go back and grout. The optical illusions from the missing grout make things looks a little crooked and unfinished — but it's all pretty straight IRL. The tiles go around the whole sink area and onto the little side wall to the left of the sink. The big splooosh above the tile will be covered when we do the final paint. There was a very ugly and very 1980s oak towel ring there previously.

I plan to grout the tile Friday after work so I can get back to sewing the rest of the weekend. But we've seen how my plans have been going so I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Simple Plans

I need a plain white blouse. It's something I often wish was in my closet when getting dressed for work, but finding fabric was more difficult than I imagined, mostly because what's available online seems to be too sheer or too fancy and what's available locally ... er ... isn't available. At least until a couple of weeks ago when I was in Hancock Fabrics to stock up on some thread. And, um, yeah, I also bought a couple more fabrics.

I didn't want high-end fabric because I want the blouse/top to be a workhorse, which means the ability to throw it in the laundry every week and to take it from the dryer back to the closet without a stop at the ironing board. In other words, polyester. But nothing that felt too icky.

I think I found a winner in this textured white woven poly. The photo below shows the texture (crinkling) a little closer up. (I may have also bought the same fabric in black. And 1 yard of the stretch woven destined to become a Magic Pencil may have flown into my shopping cart too.)

So I think the white fabric will become a SBCC Mimosa top (above) this weekend. I've already promised Saturday to Alex for tiling in his investment house, but that still leaves me Sunday and  Monday, since Monday is a holiday. Yay long weekends!

In the meantime, here are some gratuitous family pics ... my (step)grandson turns 1 today. He's the most chill baby/lil' dude I've ever met.

Happy Birthday Dean!

And my other "babies" on duty. Not a pedestrian or mailman goes by without their permission. Or so they think.

P.S. Thank you for all the super nice comments about my dotty Appleton dress. I still haven't fixed the tie ride-up issue so it's still just decorating Zillie and it's been rather cold here (for here) anyway so I haven't been extra motivated, but I'm hoping to fix it this weekend too.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Cashmerette Appleton Dress in Review

Although technically I started this dress in December, I'm calling this my first make of 2016 since I finished, photographed, and blogged it today.

Overall, I like my finished dress and it's a great pattern. But ... there are a couple of things I changed during construction and a couple more I hope to change for a next version. The main thing is I'm not sure how I feel about the boobaliciousness on display with the ties riding up right under my bra. The ties are just sitting too high for my preference. I'm pointing the finger at me on this one, though. Meaning, it's due to my belly growing over the last couple of years from indulging in too many goodies and not enough sit-ups coupled with the body changes that creep up with age and so the ties just ride up even though they actually start in the right place to hit my true waist. I'm thinking maybe I'll add some belt holders but until then, I will likely wear this dress with a light gray cardi to camouflage the belly in profile view, at least until I get on with those sit-ups (don't hold your breath on that one). From the front, which is how you're seeing me in these pics, it looks fine. Great, even. :-) As a comparison to the Muse Gillian wrap dress, I prefer the Gillian's sewn in waistband for keeping both the ties and my waist in check.

I do L.O.V.E. the color and the dots, and the fabric is a nice ITY that drapes and swishes just right. I can't remember if it came from or Fabricmart but it was last year (I mean more than just yesterday), so I'm sure it's gone from wherever. It was a good match for this pattern.

So, onto the changes I made and what I'll do next time ...

First, simple, but I fused the opening ... er ... open with Steam-a-Seam. The fabric is slippery and I knew the "flaps" would probably work their way through the hole and look weird.

Next, I interfaced the ties. Not any of the neckline pieces, just the ties. You can see how they are attached separately onto the neckline pieces below. I prefer my waist ties to have some body so they don't collapse into themselves and get lost in the fluff that is my waist. If I had actually tested this pattern, I would've suggested adding the interfacing at least as an option.

Something I will change for next time is to move the shoulder seam backward. I do not have forward shoulders at all, just the opposite in fact, so the shoulder seams are riding a bit forward on me. (I don't know if this pattern is drafted for a more forward shoulder. Jenny?) This will be a fiddly pattern alteration, though, because there are a lot of pieces coming together here and the nice no-gape neckline is achieved by having these pieces fit together in a certain way. Alternatively, I may just make an erect back alteration to the back piece, which would be easier. I'm still evaluating the finished dress in my mirror.

The other thing I'll change for next time is to lengthen the ties about 12 inches. I want to be able to tie a bow and have the tie ends hang lower than they do at this length. Plus, I would make them different lengths so they are the same finished length when tied. Below, I've made a loop with just the longer side. There's not enough tie to make an adult bow vs. a little girl bow on the hip. This is an easy enough change once I do the math to figure out which tie needs to be longer than the other.

Here you can see the "structure" adding the interfacing gives the ties when going around the back. And you can see the deep hem. I thought the pattern wasn't going to be long enough and added a total of about 4 inches by spreading 1 inch in the middle and adding the rest at the hem edge. Yeah, that was overkill. I ended up making a 1.5 inch double-fold hem. But I do like the added weight of this hem so I'd probably do it again.

As for the pattern itself, I was using the paper version provided to me for free by Jenny (with no strings attached and if you know my blog, you know I tell it like it is). It's nicely drafted and comes with a lovely and comprehensive instruction book. From the instructions, I found it to be very straightforward figuring out what size vs. bust cup to choose. For the record, I used the E/F cup piece and cut a 20 at neckline/shoulders/waist and then morphed out to 24 for the hips (tummy in my case) on the front piece only. The fit is good through the shoulders, but I think the 18 up top might be even better. I went big due to the abundant negative ease in the bust as a "just in case." But in any case, no linebacker shoulders drafted here.

It's more than roomy enough around the hips/butt/belly and since the fronts wrap almost to the sideseam at each side, I don't have any fear of the wrap flying open and exposing anything better left covered. Beginners may find assembling the neckline pieces a bit tricky, but soldier on ... it works.

I can see why this pattern has been popular from its release. It's a pretty dress, flattering to and designed for curves. So nice to pretty much just cut, sew, wear.

A couple more gratuitous shots ...

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in Review

Click to visit Gillian's/Crafting a Rainbow 2015 Top 5 Round-Up Post

Warning: VERY photo-intensive post. I'm doing a huge photo dump here of my last year since my blogging pretty much went south and unless you follow me on Instagram, this will all be new to you. I understand that not everyone is going to be interested in my mundane, boring year but I'm documenting it as much for my own recollection as to catch you up. Feel free to scroll down and move on. I won't be insulted :-)

All in all 2015 wasn't terrible and overall better than 2014. But it started out crappy because the house in the city I started renting in April 2014 turned out to have a major slumlord as an owner and I hated everything about it. I've never lived in such a horrible place and it really took a toll on me. (First world problems, I know.) But once I found a new place, moved, and (mostly) settled in, my mental state did a 180 and things have been rolling along ever since. (I'm still in the city, with a 7-minute morning commute. It's awesome!) Even the sewjo has returned and now that the holidays and my related travels are pretty much in the rear view, I expect some serious output to start happening. If for no other reason than I NEED NEW CLOTHES.

So here's some "highlights" of my last year, sewing- and family-wise, at least those moments documented via cell pics.

I think this is the first thing I started and finished in 2015. I still wear it (which you'll see below in the December pics).

My "baby" Alex turning into a man.

A visit to The Tattooed Moose and the Marine in Charleston, SC.

At the bar at Parris Island. Quite a different experience from boot camp there.

And then I wrecked my car on the drive back to Florida. No injuries and the car is now good as new. The damage was mostly plastic and the radiator and looks worse here than the bill reflected. Thank heaven.

Seeing the Blue Angels practice over Beaufort, SC on my trip back to pick up my fixed car.

Another sewing project. I wear the HECK out of this. It's comfortable, flattering, and professional looking. It's the Muse Jenna cardi over a Simplicity pull-on tank dress with an elasticated waist. I'm too lazy to look up the pattern number.

A work bathroom selfie and another Simplicity dress and I'm still too lazy to look it up. It's the faux wrap that was popular a few years ago, which took me a while to get around to.

One of the MANY reasons I moved house. Yeah, it's what you think it is. OMG.

A long weekend get-away to the beach with Alex, his then-gf, and the pups. Much needed.

Just sitting and chillin' at our fun little rental cottage.

Isn't it cute? We could walk everywhere, and did.

A quick maxi tank dress I made for the beach trip and which subsequently got a lot of wear over the summer. I think this is the last of the cheap rayon knit from

A rare (for me) blogger meet-up. Mr. Celie's Pants was there too but he was holding the camera. This was so much fun and I'm glad Renee and Jordan have an excuse (her dad) to return sometime. I want a repeat. They are SO nice!

Still enjoying my job and still very thankful to have it.

We "found" pup #3, Charlie, in July, the week before we moved. He's a Chi-Weenie and is adorable. I still can't believe I have 3 dogs again. Alex is a mean negotiator and it's all his fault. And they all love him more than me.WTF

The herd.

The new place, as of July. It's a lot smaller than my previous houses and I've had to get rid of a LOT of stuff, but I'm of that "downsize" age anyway and it's nice to not be tied to housework and ... stuff. Plus, it's so bright and pretty inside and I'm happy.

The new small sewing room. It's mostly unpacked now but it's very small and my cutting table lives in another room and my pattern cabinet and much of my fabric live in the garage. I'm slowly moving some of the best stash inside and will eventually get rid of the unloved remainder but for now, it's working.

New kitchen before we hung shelves.

The Great Tampa Flood. That's my street.

We spent a lot of time (and cash) at Ikea those first couple of months after moving in. That's Alex pushing the cart in the warehouse.

I bought Alex a new BBQ/smoker he had been eyeing and he's been perfecting his wings and ribs since. We've had delicious food pretty much every weekend since football season started. Momma knew what she was doing buying that BBQ.  ;-)

In November, we saw America at the 2015 Ribfest in St. Pete. A bunch of "old" people my age (hahaha) enjoying them and the Doobie Bros and Santana tribute bands. It was a great day with great music, but Alex makes much better ribs.

A treat for myself (and Alex) from Black Friday and the proceeds from selling so much of my crap that didn't fit in the new house. (Have you noticed how bright every pic of my new house is? Sigh.)

The Cook men, minus Alex who stayed home with the pups, from when I went to see Tyler's performance 2 weeks ago in a church Christmas production in SC. This was the first time seeing my ex in 4 years. It was ... interesting. We all just ignored him and had a good time. I'm not kidding. Hahaha.

Tyler at church practice the night before the Big Performance.

And the church band performing "Carol of the Bells," which you'll recognize as a Trans Siberian Orchestra tune. They rocked it, and the rest of their performance!

The infinity scarf I made (on request) for my soon-to-be stepdaughter-in-law. While in SC two weeks ago, my stepson Michael asked for this and also for my help in picking out an engagement ring!!! for his gf (and the mother of his son, which makes me a step-grammie OMG).

Here's me with the "boys" on Christmas Eve in St. Augustine ... it was about 400 degrees that night, so we felt as blurry as we look here ... and ...

... Michael proposed to Hannah (see her scarf heehee!) ...

... and Tyler filmed it all (bad language warning if you watch it).

Michael and Hannah's son, Dean, who will be 1 in January.

And, finally, the sewing project (Cashmerette Appleton) I started at the beginning of the month and which I WILL finish this weekend.

Happy New Year!!